The humble business card. Revered by designers, lusted after by business people. Are they just a bit old fashioned now? Or will we still be swapping contact information on cardboard for years to come? This collection of some of the web’s coolest identity based startups are sure looking to change all that, with centrally, easily updatable information about you, and your presence on the web being exchanged, swapped or broadcast digitally.
About.me supports a number of social services on the web, allowing you to showcase all of the services you are a member of and which networks you are active on the web. Their current list of services includes (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, Posterous, Flickr, Typepad, Foursquare, Formspring, Youtube, Vimeo, Last.fm, Dailybooth, Instagram or custom URL of your choice). With this service offering and the ability to upload a full size image and set it as a background, About me have managed to encourage lots of beautiful people onto their service, which has helped grow and build out their network.
Adding a new profile is literally a couple of minutes, and once you connect up your accounts, your page is built on the fly. You can however tweak things such as fonts – with sexy typography provided via Typekit. I’m sold. I found myself actually having fun customising my profile page, and adding information to it. The content is
Probably most interestingly About.me have comprehensive statistics on who has viewed your profile, the links clicked and how long they spent. Their current Analytics offering will be making way for a new one delivered now by Klout – the social media influence tool.
Flavours.me offer a similar concept to that of About.me, although they probably have the edge when it comes to design features and social network integration. Flavours.me have ALOT more services available out of the box. You can see the full list over here – but it pretty much wipes the floor compared to About.me. That’s not to say that its a better product; just that it happens to have gone to town on the support for third party web application integration.
Whereas About.me offer statistics on their page for free – Flavors.me offers custom URL’s and insight into the browsers coming to your landing page at a cost. The inclusion in their directory is also a commercial feature, as are a couple of the layout options. On the free package, you get 4 services out of the box, additional ones are paid. For $20 a year many of you will not begrudge them the fee.
Design and layout options I simply couldn’t fault, the ability to have multiple layouts, as well as a few commercial layouts as a bonus was a nice touch, and the real time editing of information allows you to see what you are doing quickly at a glance. The ability to pull in your feeds and blog posts also adds to the attraction – as it is yet another place people may discover your content.
Overall Flavours.me is a well polished solution that will have you swapping contact information about yourself in double quick time. Well worth investigating.
Currently in Beta, Hashable is a New York based startup looking to change the way we meet people. It’s a mobile application designed to make it easier for users to network. Utilising game mechanics at its core, Hashable users earn points for activity within the network, (Hashcred) with the most active users ranked on their leader board.
The more introductions you make for example, using the hashtag #intro, or the more people you meet (#justmet) – the more credit you receive, and these people and connections are recorded automatically in your addressbook so you can easily find them later. The strength of each relationship you create over time is recorded, i.e. the people you meet with more frequently inside the system. This allows you to quickly see via the website the people you are connecting with the most.
Taking a much more standard issue approach to the digital business card Identyme have focused firmly on providing space for portfolios within your page. This lends itself to digital creatives who still want to provide some insight into their ability without the need to show a full website of material.
As you can see from one of their demo’s, they also allow resume’s or C.V.’s to be attached to your profile, giving a much more corporate feel to the overall offering. A number of free and commercial features are available, with most notably the ability to use your own domain name, even on the free account. That said, in comparison with say Flavors.me , their pricing is per month rather than per year, with the highest paid plan coming in at $239 a year, which is steep compared with the cool factor of other solutions out there. Still , it may suit some people, particular those looking for sleek, chic and professional.
Primarily a contact sharing application Bu.Mp is designed to facilitate easier transfer of your personal identity to another phone. You can choose to share a certain selection of you own personal data in the interface, so you can choose to have different levels of disclosure about yourself to different people. For example, you may wish to only give your email address to Bob, but give your physical address and email to Lauren. Once you’ve setup what information you want to exchange, the application and wireless technology does the rest, and you simply ‘Bump’ fists with the chum you want to swap contacts with. In a flash, they will have your details, and you’ll have theirs, bringing the concept of business card up to date with the world of technology.
It’s a quick and fun way to swap contact information at conferences, and meetups. At present they have iPhone and Android versions out there along with a pretty sweet API – so you can imagine the possibilities that this technology brings to mobile devices. Contact swapping is just the tip of the iceberg, as we’ve already seen the ability to swap money with a bump being provided by PayPal.
A Northern Irish startup (huzzah!) – schmooze are focused on the bit of networking that many geeks suffer with in the business world – the actual networking. Perfect for conferences where you have a limited amount of time available to meet delegates, Shhmooze lets you work the room all from the comfort of your mobile device. It focuses on pinpointing the people who you most want to meet at a crowded event, and lets you see who else is immediately around you. One of the coolest features is the ability to use wave at other participants in the room, and with plans to facilitate delegate lists and offering speaker profiles all from the one app coming soon, its a proactive way to get connected and will appeal widely to all speaking event organisers, not just those of tech conferences.
For conference organisers, the ability to register your event to use Shhmooze is provided absolutely free from their website, and although currently only on iPhone and iPad they have plans to cover other major mobile device with an Android and Blackberry version in the pipeline.